Dealing with disappointment

Moving on as an Oxbridge reject

Getting rejected from Oxbridge is one of those moments where you feel like you’ve lost control and things haven’t gone how you wanted or expected them to go, leaving you feeling utterly discouraged. Maybe you feel like you’ve let yourself or someone else down, or maybe you feel annoyed or angry. Perhaps you feel drained, not seeing the point anymore and wishing you hadn’t tried in the first place.

Whenever you do feel like any of these, from disappointment to frustration it is most important to share how you feel with someone, I know it can seem like the hardest thing to do but it will definitely help you cope better. Talking to someone can not only keep you distracted from focusing on the negatives, but speaking to someone can also help you organise your thoughts and feelings, sometimes everyone just needs a cheerleader in life, someone who’s got your back, believes in you and is ready with words of hope and encouragement. It is also important to remember that you are not the only one who feels like this! EVERYONE in life has aimed for some exceptional goal and hasn’t quite made it at some point. But that feeling of not quite making it, or of feeling rejected is 100% what builds you up and makes you stronger.

Along with the majority of my friends, I was one of those people who, this time last year, faced the daunting prospect of opening an email or reading a letter that simply said I was rejected from Oxford or Cambridge (Oxford in my case), there is no way of sugar coating it. And in that moment in time it honestly feels like an the biggest obstacle possible has come in the way of you reaching your dream. Applying to Oxbridge is often something that you sit and consider for months, leaves you worrying in your sleep and far too invested in the outcome, so it does feel like a set back at the time but despite feeling upset you shouldn’t believe that rejection is what defines you because honestly it doesn’t.

You should be proud that you tried your best and of all of the hard work you have put into your application and work to get to the position of even applying to such a prestigious pair of universities. You have put yourself though the painful process of applications, entrance exams and interviews and don’t say “it’s all for nothing” when you don’t get into that dream university, because remember why you’re doing all of this. It’s because you love your subject and that is what has given you the passion and the drive to get to where you are. Also, don’t forget about all of the other amazing opportunities you have had and received, one negative most certainly doesn’t mean the end of the world. No matter where you end up studying, it’s the same subject you’ll be studying. Think about the other universities you have offers from, all of which will give you a sound education and an amazing experience. 10 years from now you’ll look back on your experience at university and what you’ll remember first is the wonderful memories you had there, not the name or not the rank of the university, in the same way as how when you consider your time in school you don’t remember your exam grades even though at the time that is what felt most important.

And last but not least, I am a firm believer in the saying that everything happens for a reason. A cliche no doubt but often I see where I’ve fallen in life, made mistakes or not felt like I’d achieved my best at the time, and then I consider where I am right now, and the journey I’ve come along to get here and I wouldn’t change it for anything. The people I’ve met, the things I’ve learnt have brought me to a place where I am really truly happy.

So in summary:

  • Don’t let this rejection get you down and don’t give up hope, its just a name at the end of the day
  • Be proud of what you have achieved to have even been able to apply to Oxbridge
  • Remember that you have plenty of other options of where to study that subject that you love
  • And finally, wherever you do end up, being rejected from oxbridge is something that you will have in common with so many people and it will become a fond memory that look back and laugh at

So welcome to the family, our big genuinely happy family of Oxbridge rejects!

3 comments for “Dealing with disappointment

  1. Alexander Kwiatkowski says:

    Wise words well written:)

  2. Emma Oxley says:

    What insight and self awareness! Brilliant to read, a must for all oxbridge candidates but more so for their parents!!

    1. Aishwarya Chidambaram says:

      Thank you!

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